Dialog Box

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The Coming Back Out Ball
THE COMING BACK OUT BALL is a feature length documentary that tells the heart-breaking and heart-warming life stories of inspirational LGBTI elders who, facing aged care, are about to kick up their heels at a star studded, spectacular Ball created by one inspiring young gay man with a passion to celebrate LGBTI pioneers. 

The film will also explore the lives of older LGBTI people who risked sacking, rejection and even jail to come out when homosexuality was still illegal in the 1970’s and others who sadly were not able to come out at all. Now in their twilight years, some LGBTI elders have to go back into the closet, to ensure decent health-care (often in Church run facilities) and avoid discrimination.

Producers Adam Farrington-Williams, Sue Thomson, Roger Monk & Tristan Meecham

Executive Producers Michael McMahon, Shaun Miller, Tony Nagle

Directed by Sue Thomson

Image: LGBTI Elders Dance Club by All The Queens Men. (C) Photo by Bryony Jackson.


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

THE COMING BACK OUT BALL feature documentary is an important project that spotlights a number of key themes in the social issue space. The treatment of and the lack of consideration for elderly LGBTI people in nursing homes; the marginalisation of the LGBTI community, both historically and in the present day; the importance of access to the arts for the elderly; LGBTI welfare; and the importance of community inclusion and acceptance.
Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

THE COMING BACK OUT BALL feature documentary should achieve a number of objectives. Firstly, it will spark conversations around the importance of care for LGBTI people in our community, in particular the healthcare industry catered to the elderly. With our spotlight on this issue, we would expect that governments and all sectors of the healthcare system (state and federal) will address the myriad of issues around caring for older LGBTI people both at home and in care and acknowledge the lack of consideration and planning in this space. Please see OUTREACH STRATEGY for further information on measuring impact of this objective.

Secondly, the heartbreaking stories that tell of marginalisation of older LGBTI people should draw empathy and go a long way towards condemning past legal legislation, as well as hopefully drawing parallels with the current political climate of other marginalised Australians. The impact of the film on these issues will be measured by the success of the theatrical release of the film. The wider the release, the more publicity and awareness there will be.

Thirdly, the importance of access to the arts for the elderly is another chief objective of the film. The use of the arts to educate, stimulate and bring communities together cannot be underestimated and this documentary will inherently champion the arts as both a mobiliser of people and a therapeutic tool. Please see the EDUCATION STRATEGY and the OUTREACH STRATEGY below for further details on how we can work with the Andrews State Government to ensure a greater emphasis on the arts in both aged care and across all ages.

What is your education and outreach strategy?

In collaboration with a number of our non-for-profit partners associated with the ball, our education strategy will be multi-pronged. An ATOM Study Guide for use in schools will be produced that will highlight the key issues raised by the film. We will aim to increase LGBTI welfare through the support of the Andrews Government's Safe Schools program and we hope to use the film as an educational tool to promote equality in schools.The film could be screened in nursing homes and aged care facilities, plus other community screenings could be held in local councils and schools and hospitals, combined with talks from representatives of the film and the wider LGBTI community; to promote awareness, cultural understanding, education and social change. A web page and Facebook page are in development and we will be able to target a large number of people through our online campaign. Given the support of the Andrews State Government and the City of Melbourne, an outreach strategy tackling the issues raised by the film will seek to garner governmental support for action on questions of elderly LGBTI care, the importance of access to the arts and in general, the wider community for the elderly and LGBTI welfare.
Sue Thomson
Adam Farrington-Williams, Roger Monk
Total budget
80 Minutes